The festive season of Eid—el-adha came and went and for the first time in a long time had a political controversy surrounding it. The fallout of the president’s walk in Daura for 800 meters caused a bit of a storm for a few days. Starting with the president’s media handlers and their penchant for not picking out the best in a story, they proceeded to talk about how the president walked publicly for 800 meters on his way from eid prayers. Atiku Abubakar who is also of similar age to the president then released pictures of himself in the gym keeping fit. Omoyele Sowore also released pictures of how he was able to finish the New York marathon within 4 hours- another proof of fitness.
If the president’s media team had not quoted the exact distance for which the president walked and instead focused on the mammoth crowd amongst which he walked, which signifies the intense popularity of the president, other aspirants for his post would not have felt the need to prove they are of a higher physical fitness compared to the president.
When highlighting fitness though, is the president’s schedule in the last 1 week enlightening enough for those who doubted his work strength? This is because, in the space of a few days, he met with the British and German heads of government and in between those, had an intense national caucus meeting of his party along with a meeting with governors elected on his party’s platform. He is now in china, traveling out of the country, on the same day that he rounded up his meeting Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. Make of that what you will, but it is hard to question the president’s physical fitness to continue holding office on the basis of this.
Sowore’s Lack of Tact
Among the presidential candidates so far seen as we head towards 2019, SaharaReporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore has been most visible and vocal among the packof candidates who have no previous political experience and do not belong to any of the established political parties. Using his media platform well, he has remained in the news.
What is clear from all that has been seen of him so far is that he seems to be serious about his candidature, not with all the town hall meetings he’s been holding within and outside the country. Beyond that though, he has not offered too much sound bites in the way of sound policy and programs that he believes will steer Nigeria on the path he deems correct. As mentioned earlier, he released pictures of himself finishing the New York marathon in response to President Buhari’s 800 meters walk during the last public holiday. This week he has been in the news, releasing a video of himself and using his media platform to push a news story, entirely based on rumor, that US president Donald Trump called the Nigerian president lifeless, on his last trip to the US. Even if this story were to be true, Sowore seems to be jumping on every story that derides the present occupant of the office he presently for which he presently vies. He does not seem to have enough wisdom to know when the president of Nigeria is representing the country and needs to be supported even by his fiercest enemies, as far as they call themselves patriots.
The US trip of President Buhari was historical because he is the first president from sub-saharan Africa to be hosted by Trump. Even more, the trip celebrated the resumption of US sales of arms to Nigeria in its effort to defeat terrorism within its shores. This was a feat because the US had stopped selling arms to Nigeria in the Jonathan years. Sowore jumping on the purported statement of Donald Trump is him saying he subscribes to the belief that Nigerian presidents should be vetted by the opinions of leaders of foreign countries who themselves, as it is clear in the case of Donald Trump may have bucketful of flaws that the world knows too much about. It is a neo-colonial mentality of a master-servant relationship that shows too clearly that vying for the presidency with no previous experience in government or having any tangible achievement in corporate beyond running an online news platform may not have prepared Sowore for what he is vying for. The presidency of anything requires character, enough for you to be honest and instinctive enough for you to know when to defend your country, in spite of your opinions about who represents it.
Saraki’s Controversial Declaration for Presidency
The senate president seems to not know how to stir himself away from controversy. He declared for the presidency during the week, using a platform that is not designed for the purpose which then saw him having to go through the backlash of the platform owners. It is the type of behavior that is all too common for a man whose issues with the present administration may not be easily divorced from his personal ambitions to occupy the office of the president of this country.
Atiku’s Public Tears
A lot of people on social media reacted hilariously to Atiku Abubakar breaking into tears when he discovered that the forms for his application to be the president of this country in 2019 on the platform of the PDP has been purchased. This according to him was without his knowledge. Atiku like Omoyele Sowore has acted without tact sometimes since he announced his intention to run again for office. The fact that he was jeered and mocked for his public display of emotions means he is still lacking the trust that a lot of people require from their president.
Between PACT and PAGA
2019 like every other year of presidential elections will see a lot of politically inexperienced candidates vying for the office of the presidency on the platforms of political parties whose names majority of voters have not heard before.
A lot of people who have made names outside of government are contesting this time. What most lack in structures and political experience, they make up for, with a lot of noise on social media. When these candidates started making moves to queue behind one candidate in order that the chosen one may become the consensus candidate amongst them, some people applauded it. They named their forum, PACT, an acronym for Presidential Aspirants Coming Together. The day that all these candidates will vote among themselves for such a one, has come and gone and has now culminated in the acronym coined this time on social media as, PAGA which fully means, Presidential Aspirants Going Away.
Even if the process of selecting one of the candidates among the 19 that came together was smooth and the outcome was agreeable, it was always going to be a long shot for Nigeria to have a president produced from an election in which the winner does not belong to a party that has zero, state legislator, federal legislator and state governor. However, falling out among themselves when it’s clear to even the most optimistic analyst that it will be tough to even win a ward not to talk of a whole nation, betrays the intention behind the aspiration of most of these men. Like the furor over the president’s walk for 800 meters, it is another episode of much ado about nothing.